AN: Here you go, the exciting conclusion! Please don't hate me…


The Anaheim Gazette

Lovebirds Secretly Married

Mallory McMallard and Nosedive Flashblade were united in marriage on Monday, March 31, 1997 at half past four o'clock at City Hall in Anaheim, California. The ceremony was officiated by Justice of the Peace Paul D. Uhlar.

The bride is the daughter of Margaret and Bardon McMallard of Puckworld. The groom is the son of Duffey and Mareena Flashblade of Puckworld.

The bride wore a strapless Sottero and Midgley gown of ivory satin. The gown featured dazzling faceted beads and pearls on the bust, cascading to a gorgeous crocheted scalloped lace over a Sinatra Satin sheath. She carried a bouquet of white roses.

No reception was held. Instead, a short interview was given. Please see continuation on page 15C for the interview. No honeymoon is planned and the couple will reside in Anaheim, California.

The bride is a Sergent First Class in the Puckworld Special Forces. She is currently employed as the right wing for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

The bridegroom is the left wing for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

0000

Wildwing frowned at the empty bunk above his as he finished getting dressed. Nosedive had vanished again yesterday afternoon and not returned last night. Considering this was the second time in as many weeks that his brother had pulled such a stunt, Wildwing was getting worried. It wasn't like Nosedive to run off without telling him what was going on.

Grabbing the black notebook that held the team schedule, he left for breakfast. Tonight was the final game against the Black Cats and he'd given them the eight o'clock morning skate. It was just one more way to work the game in his favor; Nosedive always played better if he had the opportunity to sleep in a bit. That is, he would if he'd actually gotten any sleep last night…

Duke, Tanya, and Grin were already sitting at the table when he entered the galley. The newspaper was spread out in front of Duke and the gray drake casually scanned it while sipping a cup of coffee.

"Morn-" Tanya's greeting was interrupted by a forceful sneeze. She threw a dirty look at the bouquet of white roses sitting in the middle of the table.

"Morning." Pouring himself a cup of coffee, he started making some toast and yogurt with sliced bananas. "Anybody seen Nosedive?"

"Not since yesterday." Duke carefully folded the newspaper and set it aside.

"Something is amiss with our little friend," Grin said, frowning. "He has been too secretive lately."

"Got that right." The leader frowned again as he spread peanut butter on his toast. He was pondering what to do exactly when Nosedive casually walked in, grabbed a box of cereal and bowl, and sat down as if today were just any other day. "Where have you been?" Wildwing tried to keep the worry and annoyance out of his voice, but knew Nosedive would pick up on it anyway.

"Chill, bro. I've been around." He tried to suppress a smile while adding milk to his Fruity Pebbles.

"Nosedive," Mallory sweetly called as she entered. "You left this on the night stand." She handed him his wrist com and gave his shoulder a light squeeze before grabbing a bowl and pouring herself some Fruity Pebbles. An emerald ring on her left hand sparkled in the galley light. She kept twisting it around, getting used to the feeling of a ring on that hand.

Left his com on the night stand? Wildwing's eyes widened at the implication. What was Nosedive doing in her room that he left the com on her night stand?

"Nosedive! Mallory!" Phil burst into the room angrily. His tie hung crooked around his neck and his shoes didn't match. "You two owe me a ton of money! How could you do this to me?" He despairingly waved a newspaper around. "All that publicity, wasted."

"What's going on?" Wildwing demanded. "Nosedive, you'd better have a good excuse for where you were last night."

"He was with me." Mallory calmly sipped her glass of water, completely unphased by Phil's attitude or Wildwing's ire.

"What!" The leader's voice cracked in shock.

"I thought it was pretty normal to sleep in the same room as your wife." Nosedive put his arm around Mallory's shoulder and pulled her close. "Wildwing-"

"WIFE?!"

"I wish he was lying," Phil moaned, throwing the newspaper to the table. Right on the front page was a large picture of Nosedive and Mallory, arms around each other and looking deeply into their partner's eyes. Right above the photo, in big bold print, were the words Lovebirds Secretly Married. Grabbing the papers, he quickly scanned the wedding announcement.

Wildwing didn't know what to do. He kept looking from the newspaper in his hand to his offensive line. Anger, confusion, and disappointment danced wildly across his face. Finally, he sighed and set the paper down. A small line appeared between his eyebrows as he again looked from Nosedive to Mallory and back.

"You two," Phil continued to rant, "Owe me big. You're going to be doing interviews and public appearances nonstop for the next week. How could you get married and deny your adoring public the joy of a big wedding?"

"Wait a minute." Tanya massaged her eyes under her glasses as she thought. "Nosedive and Mallory? Huh! Now I've heard it all."

"I wish you two great happiness." Grin appeared ever bit as perplexed as anyone else but quickly regained his composure.

"Thank you, Grin." Mallory smiled at Tanya, "I brought the bouquet back for you since you weren't there to catch it."

"Hah!" Tanya pointed to the flowers on the table as she leaned forward. "Nosedive's got you under some sort of mind control if you think I'm getting married next. No way."

"Congratulations, Mallory." Duke raised his coffee mug in a toast. "Nosedive, good luck." He ceremoniously took a big drink and settled back to watch the show.

"You going to say something, Wing?" Nosedive looked up hopefully at his big brother.

"Yeah," Mallory added. "I was sort of hoping you'd welcome me to the family."

"You didn't want me there?" Wildwing had finally settled on hurt. He'd thought they were closer than this. Nosedive had always told him everything. How could he keep something this big a secret? Why wouldn't he tell him about dating Mallory?

Nosedive's and Mallory's smiles quickly vanished. The redhead looked to the roses on the table to avoid the pained stare of her brother-in-law. Nosedive leaned over and took the newspaper from Duke. Seeing that it was already folded to the right page, he thrust it towards Wildwing.

"I think you should read the interview." He shook the paper a little to emphasize his point.

"I thought you'd want me to be your best drake." He automatically took the newspaper and stared at the words, unable to comprehend what was in front of him. Shaking his head, he set the paper down and looked to his now larger family. "Whole story. Now."

"I think you should read the paper," Duke suggested.

"No," Wildwing's voice hardened. "They can stop hiding and tell me themselves." Crossing his arms, he fell into leader mode. "You're going to tell me everything and you're going to tell me now."

"Fine." Duke picked up the paper and began reading, saving Nosedive and Mallory from having to face the white drake alone. "The news of Mallory's and Nosedive's wedding is as surprising as it is welcomed. The Anaheim Gazette's own Jessica Banks sat down with the newlyweds for an exclusive interview.

"Jessica- How did you two meet? Nosedive- I was in high school and this hot babe of a recruiting officer kept trying to get me to join the military. I kept coming up with the dumbest questions just so I could see her more. Mallory- He's right, those questions were really dumb. But, he worked up the nerve to ask me out one day and I actually said yes."

"Wait a minute," Wildwing interrupted. "Lt. Pato was the recruiting officer at our school, not Mallory." This kept getting stranger and stranger. Nosedive knew it was Lt. Pato! He'd been the one to get Canard out and into the Resistance.

"Let him finish reading," Nosedive suggested.

Duke continued dramatically reading and doing his best impression of a reporter at a high-class function. "Jessica- There's, what, six years between you? That seems like an awful big gap. Mallory- It's really not that big when you think about it. Nosedive- Age doesn't mean much when you're in love.

"Jessica- How long have you two been dating? Nosedive- I'd say it's about three years now. Mallory- That's right. We started right before the invasion.

"Jessica- Isn't it a little unusual for someone in their early twenties to go out with a fifteen year old? Nosedive- Actually, you can get married at fifteen on Puckworld. Mallory- Yeah, it's a really old tradition, but ducks sometimes get married pretty young.

"Jessica- You said invasion. I've heard conflicting stories about how you and your team arrived here. How did your relationship fare during the invasion of your homeworld? Nosedive- We were separated for a long time. Thinking about Mallory was the only thing that kept me going some days. I just knew we were destined to be together and spent all of my time searching for her. Mallory- You can't imagine how relieved I was when Canard brought him on the team. It was all I could do not to kiss him right then and there. But, we're soldiers. We knew we had to put our personal feelings aside for a little while in order to bring Dragaunus down.

"Jessica- So, you broke up? Nosedive- Not exactly. Mallory- We took a short break. When we realized we were stranded on Earth, we decided to stop waiting and start dating again. Nosedive- Best decision we ever made. Mallory- Second best. Today was the best."

"Ugh," Tanya groaned. "Does this mean you two are going to be sickeningly sweet to each other now? I think I prefer the pranks."

Duke tried not to laugh and cleared his throat. Giving his still silent leader a quick glance, he returned to the story. "Jessica- We wish you both all the best. Do you have any words for your fans? Nosedive and Mallory- April Fools!"

Wildwing blinked several times, processing the last two words. Nosedive pushed his chair back, readying for a quick escape.

"April Fool?" What was that?

"You mean this has all been a joke?" Phil began laughing in relief. "Bubbies! Don't do that to me!"

"April Fool's is an Earth thing where people play pranks and jokes on each other," Tanya informed. "I remember reading about it last year when we first arrived, but forgot it was April first." She began laughing. "That was pretty good!"

"You went along with this?" Wildwing glared at Mallory. This was the sort of thing he'd expect from Nosedive but never of his weapons specialist.

"Of course!" she laughed. "He didn't get off easy. I get to keep the ring," she smirked as she tapped it. "And he had to court me for a whole month."

Wildwing's posture finally started relaxing and a hidden smile began to reveal itself. Mallory could be extremely demanding and he had no doubt that she'd truly made his brother work for this prank.

"And where were you last night?" That was one question he needed answered. Had he actually stayed with Mallory?

"In Duke's room." Nosedive looked far too pleased with himself. This had to be one of the biggest pranks he'd ever pulled and the entire team had fallen for it.

Wildwing nodded once, accepting his answer. He'd get the full story later. For now, someone needed to be put in his place.

"You," he pointed at the younger Flasblade, "Are dead."

Nosedive bolted from his chair and out the door, praying his speed would save him from the wrath of an angry brother. Wildwing followed, intent on reminding Nosedive just who was in charge.

"My money's on Wildwing," Duke bet as he refilled his coffee mug.

0000

So, what do you think? I hope you guys aren't to disappointed with my April Fool's joke! I did warn you to read carefully and that not everything was as it seemed. I also said that this tale fit into my timeline and I just don't see Nosedive and Mallory as a couple. Did anybody guess what was going to happen before it did?

This story kept me amused for about three months while I thought about, wrote, and published it. I sincerely hope you are as amused as I am. Now, on to the next grand adventure!